Dr. Rob MacGregor speaks at Windows about AIDS; Africa

A ministry to people with AIDS recently reached Eastern.

Dr. Rob MacGregor, emeritus professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, spoke about his experience with HIV/AIDS in Africa at Windows on the World on September 22. A slideshow of photos enhanced his account.

Students and faculty at the University of Pennsylvania serve in clinics in Botswana. They work with many HIV patients offering treatments and love.

Unfortunately, causes for the spread of HIV in Botswana are both economic and medical, and other diseases increase vulnerability in contracting HIV.

“Tuberculosis is very common in South Africa,” MacGregor said.

The disease is endemic, meaning it started in Botswana and almost the whole population is infected. Patients with TB have a weakened immune system and are more vulnerable to HIV.

Rather than search for a cure, MacGregor prefers to control the virus.

“Treatment is the main way of dealing with the endemic,” MacGregor said. “[HIV] would be like diabetes, a bother but a way of life.”

Many patients begin to feel better after a few weeks of treatments and discontinue their medication.

“The virus [HIV] is like a lion wanting to eat your insides,” MacGregor said. “The drugs put the lion to sleep, but treatment cannot stop it. Your pills are the heel on the neck of the snake.”

One of the things MacGregor enjoyed most about Africa is the innocence of the children there.

“It’s really neat to see the little kids being colorblind and accepting the white community,” MacGregor said. “Going to Africa and being part of one to two percent white [population], you realize that you are white.”

There are many organizations working in Botswana. If you are called to the mission of bringing joy and love into the lives of the people of Botswana, Dr. Rob MacGregor would be more than happy to speak to you. You can reach him by email at: macgregr@mail.med.upenn.edu.

Facts on Botswana

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